HOLTON: The Enemy Knows We’re In A World War, But We Don’t

With the emergence over the past 18 months of the Islamic State (IS), the West, led by the U.S., now finds itself in a world war, whether we want to believe it or not.

The Islamic State is not simply an Iraqi problem or a Syrian problem. IS has metastasized into a worldwide organization with 20,000 recruits from Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, the U.S., Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Germany. Even worse, Jihadists from Boko Haram in Nigeria, Abu Sayyef in the Philippines, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Northwest Africa and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula from Yemen have all pledged allegiance to IS.

There can no longer be any doubt that the global Islamic insurgency that some have been warning about for some time, amounts to a world war. Nevertheless, policymakers here in the U.S. continue to ignore or deny this reality.

Over the period of a generation, the West has allowed itself to be thoroughly infiltrated by a savage and barbaric belief system. This is evidenced by the global base of recruitment that the Islamic State has been able to take advantage of and the numerous public displays of support for IS in the West.

In Germany, IS supporters actually attacked Kurdish Yazidis living there, mimicking the action by their fellow savages in northwestern Iraq where IS is committing genocide ,while most of the world looks on and does little or nothing to stop it.  We can only hope that German authorities are taking action to crack down on this activity, because if it isn’t stopped in the most forceful manner, it WILL get worse and worse to the point that stopping it will amount to full-blown counterinsurgency operations within their own borders.

In The Netherlands in July, pro-IS demonstrators marched with the black flag of the Islamic State, chanting “Death to Jews.” It’s 1936 all over again in Europe. Authorities are just sitting back passively as savages express their intention to target Jews.

In Austria, a fan club of sorts for IS has sprung up, complete with a Facebook page. Note that in the article about this group the author points out that he can’t find any evidence that the mosque associated with the group actually exists. This actually shows an ignorance of mosque organization. Many mosques operate in peoples’ homes and businesses in the West, with no overt, formal displays or organization.

It certainly doesn’t help that, when Westerners choose to exercise free expression with anti-IS protests, authorities have stifled them. While public safety is certainly paramount, isn’t it an ominous sign when Jihadist activity in the West prompts the government to stifle legitimate, peaceful demonstrations? That’s exactly what happened in The Netherlands this month, when a Dutch anti-IS rally was canceled as “too provocative.”

This should prompt Dutch authorities to think twice.  Mustn’t there be a critical public safety threat from Jihadists if those who disagree with them can’t even hold a protest? And if that is the case, shouldn’t the Dutch intelligence and law enforcement agencies be working to disrupt and take down those Jihadists?

The Islamic State isn’t just garnering support in Europe. IS is also getting jihadi recruits there as well. It is estimated that some 3,000 Western European Muslims have traveled to the Middle East to join the Islamic State’s Jihad—including young girls from The Netherlands, Great Britain and Austria. Perhaps the best known case involved a 14-year old girl from Spain that was recruited to IS.

Part of the recruitment of Western females has been done on Social Media, including Facebook and usually involves Muslim women doing the recruiting. This is a sure sign that Jihadist doctrine has thoroughly embedded itself in the Islamic community in Europe. Again, a savage, barbaric belief system has mushroomed over the past generation right under the noses of western Europeans who are supposed to know the importance of freedom.

Not all of the recruitment in the West is happening on the internet and social media. Recently, IS supporters were seen openly recruiting on the streets of central London, handing out literature promoting the Caliphate.

Think about the implications of this for a moment. Here we have a case in which people are openly promoting and recruiting for a terrorist organization on the streets of a Western democracy that they have sworn to conquer and authorities appear to be taking no action whatsoever to stop it. We are through the looking glass.

The Islamic State’s recruiting in Great Britain has been very successful. British authorities estimate that some 500 British Muslims have joined IS to wage jihad. The UK government’s own figures indicate that more British have signed up to fight for IS than have volunteered for the country’s armed forces reserves.

The Islamic State’s reach extends as far as Australia as well, more than 6,000 miles from northern Iraq. For example, a notorious Australian jihadist named Khaled Sharrouf has been active in fighting for IS, even bringing his 7-year old son along to take part in the gruesome butchery. If this doesn’t qualify as barbarism and savagery, nothing does, but keep in mind that the Islamic State enjoys massive support across the Islamic world because of this barbarism and savagery. As Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently pointed out, the images of the 7-year old boy holding a severed head should serve as a stark warning to the entire world. But is the world listening? Is the world paying attention?

When one Australian Muslim spoke out to criticize Khaled Sharrouf, one of Sharrouf’s comrades offered a $1,000 reward on Twitter for information on the location of the person’s residence. Clearly, the jihad has come home to Australia.

Media reports indicate that IS Jihadist recruitment efforts in Australia are not isolated incidents and are occurring in prayer groups in mosques.

Rather ironically, Australia has become a jihadist recruitment hub where Islamic immigrants from war-torn regions such as Kashmir, have come to join the Islamic State. This tends to stand the classic jihadi recruitment model, in which westerners head to places like Pakistan to join the jihad, on its head. Moreover, it suggests that the Jihadists have thoroughly infiltrated the West right under our noses, setting up an infrastructure while our law enforcement and intelligence officials remained blissfully unaware, distracted perhaps by “interfaith” and “community” “outreach” campaigns conducted by the political wing of the Islamic insurgency, the Muslim Brotherhood.

At least one prominent Australian military leader has completely awoken to the threat. The former chief of the Australian army, Peter Leahy, now a professor, stated last week: “Get ready for a 100-year war with Islam.”

The news media and some policymakers in America seem determined to downplay the threat that the Islamic State poses, characterizing it as being part of an internal, sectarian conflict only involving Iraq. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s abundantly clear that IS’s goals go way beyond seizing control of all or part of Iraq, or Syria or Lebanon for that matter.

There is growing concern that the Islamic State is taking hold in Libya, with a proposed alliance with the Libyan jihadist group Ansar al-Shariah. Already, neighboring Egypt and Algeria are considering a combined military operation to prevent IS from establishing itself in Libya, thus posing an existential threat to the entire region.

IS has been specifically targeting Muslims from English-speaking nations, having released a recruiting video with that very purpose in mind.  In that video, IS members appearing on-screen claim to have members from Bangladesh, Iraq, Cambodia, Australia and Great Britain.

Obviously, not all of the Islamic State’s recruiting operations have been targeting Western Muslims. But “Bangladesh, Iraq and Cambodia” are not the only non-Western nations from whence IS Jihadists hail. U.S. officials say that members of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which operates in northern and western Africa, and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which operates in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, have joined the Islamic State.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Islamic nation, has also been a hotbed of Islamic State recruiting and at least one Islamikaze bomber in Iraq was a Malaysian Muslim. This recruiting is clearly happening in mosques in Indonesia, where Islamic State literature is openly distributed to worshippers.

Mosques are also hotbeds of pro-IS activity in India, where one Imam was found to be handing out ISIS t-shirts to the young men who attended his mosque.

Imagine for a moment that your church was being used to recruit for violence and that your pastor was encouraging young men to join violent groups. Seems impossible, doesn’t it? Well, that is exactly what’s happening in mosques in India, Indonesia, Australia, across the Middle East and parts of Europe. And past experience tells us that it is likely happening here in mosques in the U.S. as well.

Can there be any real doubt that IS poses a grave threat to the safety of every American and to U.S. national security?

The FBI estimates that dozens of Americans, 100 that they know about, have traveled to the Middle East to wage jihad for the Islamic State.

Some are still ignoring or downplaying this threat. Have they already forgotten the events of September 11th, 2001? Are there Americans out there who honestly think that another 9/11—or worse—couldn’t happen again?

The Islamic State has provided us with ample warning in the form of threats, both overt and implied, and, as the FBI reports, they have American fighters in their ranks:

IS has been especially active on Twitter to make threats against the U.S. and Americans, declaring, “This is a message to every American citizen. You are the target of every Muslim in the world wherever you are.”

IS social media also threatened US embassies, declaring that “every American embassy in the world will be exposed and attacked with car bombs.”

In the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, at least one demonstrator displayed an ISIS sign.

In the latest display of savagery and barbarism, Islamic State terrorists videotaped their beheading of captured U.S. journalist James Foley.

Given the atrocities that the Islamic State has already perpetrated, totally dismissing a barrage of threats directed at America and its citizens is tantamount to national security malpractice.

There are indications that the Islamic State has fans and supporters in the U.S. Take, for instance, the case of the man in Garwood, New Jersey who flew an Islamic State flag from the front of his home (along with a Turkish flag). When confronted about the flag, the residents decided to take it down. Given the actions of the Islamic State and what it represents, if I was a resident of Garwood, New Jersey, I would be extremely uneasy about the presence of those people in my community and I would hope that local police would have them under close surveillance. This isn’t like flying the flag of the New York Yankees in a South Boston neighborhood. This is not unlike someone flying the Rising Sun flag or the Nazi flag in an American town in 1943. Remember, the Islamic State has slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians and have threatened the U.S. and American citizens. (Incidentally, the Turkish flag accompanying the IS flag is significant as well; reports indicate that some 10%–about 2,000–of the Islamic State fighters are from Turkey.)

Are the residents of that house an actual threat? Are they Jihadist terrorists? There’s no way of knowing. They might be. But they may also just be supporters or admirers. Either way, it’s incredibly disturbing to know that there are people in our midst who have any kind of allegiance to a barbaric group of savages like the Islamic State.

Make no mistake, some in America go way beyond the description of “admirer.” Take the case of the 19-year old Colorado woman named Shannon Conley who married an Islamic State jihadi from Tunisia and was arrested in the Denver airport while on the way to joining him in Syria.

Conley was a relatively recent Muslim convert. One has to wonder how she came to marry a jihadist from Tunisia at such a young age. Did the whole thing happen over the internet? Past cases involving the Blind Sheikh, Abdulraham Alamoudi, Carlos Bledsoe, Major Nidal Hassan and Anwar al-Awlaki, suggest that some of this activity is almost certainly being facilitated in American mosques under the tutelage of Imams and leaders from the Muslim community, particularly those associated with Muslim Brotherhood organizations.

What’s particularly disturbing is the fact that President Obama personally—along with members of his administration—seems to be intentionally downplaying the threat from the Islamic State. Either Obama thinks IS is not a threat or he just doesn’t want to admit publicly that IS is a threat.

Keep in mind that back in January, Obama told The New Yorker that the group that what soon became the Islamic State was just the “JV,” as if to dismiss the threat they posed.

A testy White House spokesman bristled when asked about Obama’s assessment in light of the recent revelations surrounding IS.

This overt underestimation of the IS threat has implications far beyond some uncomfortable questions from the lapdog reporters in the so-called “mainstream” media. Even Bill O’Reilly, who hasn’t always seen the threat from Jihad and Shariah clearly and has been an apologist for Muslim Brotherhood groups in the U.S., such as CAIR, recognizes that the view that the Islamic State threat is somehow inexorably tied to internal Iraqi politics is incredibly myopic. The Islamic State threat is global and their strength has been allowed to metastasize while the free world has looked the other way.

If IS was ever the “JV” (doubtful), they are most assuredly full-blown professionals now.

Now much of America is left trying to figure out what this entity known as the Islamic State is and how they got so evil. Pundits are attempting to draw analogies to historical examples that Westerners are familiar with, such as the Khmer Rouge and Nazi Germany:

Simply put, ISIL is a combination of al-Qaeda, the Khmer Rouge, and the Nazis.

While it is understandable that observers would want to classify IS in known categories, this is actually misguided and furthers our collective misguided notions about the threat that we face.

As evil as the Khmer Rouge and the Nazis were, they were not jihadists. They were something different. The jihadists have their own doctrine and it predates the Nazis and communism by many hundreds of years; it’s called Shariah and it’s based on the Islamic trilogy: the Quran, the Hadith and the Sirah.

All too often, Westerners simply associate Shariah with brutal forms of punishment for criminal acts. Shariah goes way beyond that stuff. Shariah is an all-encompassing code that covers the legal, social, cultural, military, political and religious aspects of life in Islam, both on an individual and collective level.

In the military and political terms that matter right now when it comes to IS, Shariah is the enemy threat doctrine. It lays out both his goals and his methods of achieving those goals. In order to understand jihad and IS, you must understand Shariah. Shariah is the key.

And everything that the Islamic State has done thus far is pure Shariah. Some will deny that out of ignorance or out of dissolution, but everything that IS has done and is doing can be found in Islamic scripture, including the beheading of James Foley. The whole concept of the caliphate is pure Shariah and when IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declares himself a rightful caliph and a direct descendant of the prophet Mohammed, that is pure Shariah. And when he outlines Muslims’ duties to him as caliph, that is pure Shariah too.

Clearly, tens of thousands—if not more—of Muslims are buying into it.  We’ve detailed support and recruitment efforts from Colorado to Australia, but we must reiterate that members of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are flocking to the Islamic State. More importantly, the brutal Nigerian-based Jihadist terrorist organization Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and so has Abu Sayyef in the Philippines.

So it really doesn’t matter if you and I disagree as to whether the Islamic State has misinterpreted Islamic scripture and Shariah. The fact is, Jihadists around the globe think they’ve got it right and they’re acting on that belief—with the U.S. squarely in their sights.

We’re in World War IV (the Cold War was World War III) and we are so terrified by the brutal reality of it that we refuse to accept it. It makes no different to the Jihadists of the Islamic State. They’re at war with us and they are on every continent. That’s pretty much the definition of a World War.

Will America’s leaders wake up?

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